By Dr. Josephine Asuncion R. Emoy
With the goal of uplifting the economic condition of the farmers in the local community, as well as of addressing concerns on food security and self-sustainability through organic farming practices, the Farmers’ Field School (FFS) was realized through the collaboration of Central Philippines State University (CPSU), the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental, the City Agriculture Office of Kabankalan, the Office of the Provincial Agriculture (OPA), Brgy. Camingawan officials and RU Foundry. After a total of 16 weeks of field training, 29 farmers successfully graduated last July 8, 2020 in a ceremony held at the Mt. Ballo Hall, CPSU - Main Campus.
The program was graced by the Kabankalan City Mayor Hon. Pedro Zayco, Jr., CPSU President Dr. Aladino Moraca, Provincial Agriculturist Atty. Japhet Masculino, City Agriculturis Ricky Muscosa, Camingawan Brgy. Captain Hon. Rico Regalia along with PEMO officials, guest from NONESCOST Dr. Jocelyn Bantigue, as well as the deans, directors and faculty of CPSU.
In his speech, Atty. Masculino of OPA said that the program was very timely especially during this pandemic wherein shortage of food has been a threat to every Negrense. This will help in ensuring food security of local farmers and underprivileged households. “Kung may pagkaon, wala gutom. Kung wala gutom, maayo ang panginabuhi,” he stated. He emphasized that this project is part of their 7-Point Agenda, ABANTE NEGRENSE, in the Province.
In the Graduation Rites of the Farmers Field School or FFS, participants with outstanding performance were awarded with a certificate and 1 piglet. They were Mrs. Juvelyn Camral as the Most Active Participant, and Mrs. Felly Canonoy as the Most Participative. Eight more piglets were given out through a raffle draw, while the rest were given 2 kg. of pork. Mr. Marcelo Pisga, Jr., the Chairman of COUFA or the Camingawan Organic Upland Farmers’ Association expressed his sincere gratitude to the University, the Brgy Council, the City and the Province for all the support they have extended, especially to CPSU for being the channel in realizing this project. “Sir Nonoy, palangga ka gid namon,” Mr. Pisga stated tearfully as he ended his speech.
During their intensive training, farmers from So. Nabung-an 1 and 2, So. Yamut and So. Matanguilon, in Brgy. Camingawan, participated in series of rigid lectures, demo and hands-on activities on organic farming practices and other agri-related technologies to enhance their capabilities in diversified organic production of vegetables and fruits, such as string beans, okra, squash, bitter gourd, cucumber, kalubay, watermelon, corn and monggo beans, including marketing of their farm produce. They were also provided with Solar Water Pumping System developed by the University, as well as sprinklers, sprayers, shovels and other farming implements courtesy of OPA.
The partner implementers of this project were the Office of the Provincial Agriculture, Office of the City Agriculture Kabankalan City, Brgy Camingawan, PAGKAON, Inc., and CPSU. The resource persons in the entire duration of their training were Mrs. Maryvic Pedrosa and Firmly Jacob of CPSU, Mr. Arsenio Dela Torre and Yvonne Mae Galvan of the Provincial Agriculture Office, Flora Mae Billena and Romel Solidum; and facilitated by Mrs. Genalin Mangao, Mr. Firmly Jacob, Mrs. Maryvic Pedrosa of CPSU, Dr. Jimmy Degillo, Director for Extension and Community Services, Mr. Arsenio Dela Torre and Yvonne Mae Galvan, Flora May Billena and Romel Solidum of the Office of the Provincial Agriculture.
To CPSU, the City and the whole Province of Neg. Occ. being an agri-forestry area, this achievement is considered a significant step towards achieving the University and the Province’s aim of helping local farmers in the community by inculcating in them the knowledge, importance and benefits of using organic farming practices along with support in terms of farm machineries and other related technologies in order to strengthen the productivity and competitiveness of the agriculture sector in the City and the Province, as a whole.
The program continued with the Awarding of the Certificate of Recognition for the CPSU CLUP or Comprehensive Land Use Plan as the Second Part, wherein partner agencies in the City of Kabankalan and the Province of Negros Occidental, as well as the CPSU core team who were all behind its realization were given due recognition and acknowledgment.